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A MAN OF THE PEOPLE
CHINUA ACHEBE
ANALYSIS BY MPELLA EDUCATION BLOG
CHAPTER SUMMARY

Chapter 1

Chief Nanga (Minister of Culture) comes to his hometown (village) of Anata.  He is “a man of the people.”  Background on his rise to power.  He recognizes and remembers Odili, who is a teacher in the village.  He invites him to come stay withi him in the city. The corruption and the politics are introduced.-  would a sensible man “spit out a juicy morsel that good fortune placed in his mouth.”- showing tip of tongue to sky to swear oath?  


Chapter 2

Background on Odili and Else, his friend with benefits.  Also meet his friend Andrew.  Odili is firm in his aspirations and his work to keep his actions ‘clean.’  He will not stoop to cronyism to get the scholarship to London that he desires.  There is a universal disdain among politicians for education abroad, however Nanga still looks forward to his upcoming honorary law degree from a small college in US.- Objectification and devaluation of women shown in anecdotes.


 Chapter 3
Odili goes to Nanga’s and is welcomed warmly.  Background on Odili’s father, a district interpreter—a powerful and hated man with five wives and 35 children.  Odili’s mother died giving birth to him—there’s shame associated with this.  Odili and Nanga visit Chief Koko, who handles education abroad, but they don’t get a chance to discuss the scholarship. - After independence the value of education becomes inverted.  Proximity to power is most important. - Corruption feeds and multiplies bureaucracy and vice versa.- OHMS, which the elite don’t use. (Our Home Made Stuff)- the gap between power and previous life is so huge that it feeds corruption

 Chapter 4
Mrs. Nanga gets ready to leave with the children to visit her village, which they do at least once a year.  Americans John and Jean stop by.  Jean flirts shamelessly with Nanga while her husband highbrows it with Odili.  Jean and John work in public relations for Nigeria in their efforts with the U.S.- Good details about racism and lynching in the US to contrast with Nigeria’s problems.   




Chapter 5
Odili goes to Jean’s party and ends up sleeping with her.  He finds that he doesn’t really like her but ask to see her again.  For American, Africans are a novelty, one that they hold apart and distinct from the ‘blacks’ back home.  At the dinner party, Odili has a good time.  Nanga never ends up going because Mrs. Akilo arrives at his home—we find out later that he sleeps with her.- Shaking the fist is a sign of great honour and respect.

Chapter 6
Odili visits Elsie and sets up a date.  He takes Nanga’s Cadillac which impresses her.  They all go together to a book exhibition to hear Nanga speak.- Objectification of women again. - Jalio wrote fictional Song of the Blackbird

Chapter 7
Nanga makes a good speech and they return home.  He comments that he likes Jalio after he sees various ambassadors fawning over the author.  They eat dinner and Nanga has sex with Elsie!  Odili loses it when he hears them (she is screaming Odili’s name in a perverse twist) and leaves the house at 4AM.  He comes back in the morning and curses out Nanga and heads to Maxwell’s. - a dash is a small loan or bribe—this destigmatizes corruption—it’s just a small quick thing after all.

 Chapter 8
Odili plots revenge against Nanga.  Maxwell hold a meeting of the Common People’s Convention (CPC).  While the party has Communist undertones, Maxwell is quick to reject that label.  He reveals that the CPC has an inside man in the current government. -  All the politicians care for are women, cars, landed property.  It’s like a rap video today.  Case in point:- some in the older generation wish the white man had never left- “it is only when you are close to a man that you can begin to smell his breath”

 Chapter 9
Odili goes back to Anata and we hear the story of Josiah, the bar-owner who took too much.  Odili visits Mrs. Nanga and gets Edna’s location and then visits her, saying that Nanga sent him to inquire after her mother (who is in the hospital).  He gives Edna a lift to the hospital on his bike but also crashes it, humorously. - No greater condemnation: taking things till at last the owner (the people) notice.

Chapter 10
At Christmas, details of major corruption (more than their fair share) break out in the media concerning current government.  The CPC has Odili run against Nanga.  Odili implore Edna not to marry Nanga!  Odili meets a lot of opposition in his campaign.  It’s important that he rejects Josiah’s offer of support.- now we see a dash of a four-story home!- we also see that the wooden masks are now a game played by drunkards and children- we see Odili enjoying the fear in another person—enjoying power- whereas a telegram might take 3 days to reach the country, rumour took a day or less






Chapter 11
Odili gets bodyguards as the campaign gets vicious.  Through it all, he pines for Edna (probably more than he cares about the CPC).  Nanga approaches Odili’s father and tries to buy off Odili with 250 pounds and a two year scholarship.  Odili firmly rejects this.- “Eating the hills like yam”

Chapter 12
Maxwell arrives from the city with his CPC staff to drum up support for Odili.  Maxwell admits he took a bribe similar to the one offered to Odili, however, he insists that the bribe carries no weight and he just did it to take the money.  When Odili approaches Edna, she angrily dismisses him.  When the POP finds out that Odili’s father indirectly supported his son’s campaigning, they nearly jail him and levy convenient overdue taxes against him.  Odili’s home village loses their pipes for supporting him.  Odili writes off Edna.

Chapter 13
In disguise, Odili goes to Nanga’s campaign meeting.  Josiah sees him though and calls him out.  Odili is beaten severely, with only Edna vainly trying to help.  He wakes up in the hospital and ends up winning Edna.  A military coup occurs in the country, overthrowing the government and suddenly Max is a martyr and a hero. - corruption equated with “a warrior eating the reward of his courage” at throwing the white man out- the people had nothing to do with fall of government—it was unruly mobs and private armies.- “but in the affairs of the nation there was no owner, the laws of the village became powerless.” - you’ve lived a good life when someone will shoot your murderer without expecting anything in return. 








ANALYSIS OF THE NOVEL
INTRODUCTION
Chinua Achebe’s novel, “A Man of The People”, is a book of political, social, economic and moral contrasts. Written in first person, the books invites readers to experience the flow of emotions, fears, tensions, suspense and the pain that Odili, the main character in the book, undergoes.
At the center of the plot is the conflict between Chief Nanga, a politician and a Minister of Culture and Odili Samalu, a teacher, and a former pupil of the Minister. Their differences at many levels; culture, lifestyle, politics are symbolic of the generational divide between the young (represented by Odili) and the old (represented by Nanga).
Chief Nanga invites Odili over to his place. It is here that Odili has a deep soul searching on how the politicians in this society enrich themselves through corruption and engage in other forms of moral decadence without second thoughts. Elsie, Odili’s girlfriend, is so excited by the immense affluence of Chief Nanga that she ends up sleeping with him. On learning that Elsie has slept with Chief Nanga, Odili is worked up. Ignoring the Minister’s attempts to appease him with promises to get him other women to sleep with, Odili resolves to seek revenge by all means. So, Odili casts the first stone by expressing interest in Chief Nanga’s seat, and is set to run against him during the elections. He is also determined to woo Edna, Chief Nanga’s wife-in-waiting.
For one who lacks the might and the financial muscle to engage in the murky water that is politics, Odili’s bid to tussle politically with Chief Nanga, can only be compared to the desperate search of a needle in the darkness.
Chief Nanga knows well the dirty tricks that characterize politics and he holds nothing back in his fight to fend of Odili. Chief Nanga defeats the young pretender and secures another term in office. Poor Odili pays a huge price for his troubles. Not only is he brutally beaten up by Chief Nanga’s stalwarts/folowers, Maxwell Kulamo, his lawyer friend is killed by his rival Chief Koko, only for Maxwell’s girlfriend to avenge his death by killing Chief Koko.
A military coup occurs, and this marks the death of Chief Nanga’s political career. Odili finally secures Edna’s hand in marriage.
This satirical, humorous and melancholic novel will enthrall (catch) and excite the reader to its end. Apart from the clever spin of political satire therein, the book has deep sexual overtones.

In many respects, “A Man of the People” is a true sketch of life and politics in many African countries.


FORM
  • THE TITLE:
The title, “A Man of The People” is ironic. The author criticizes the people in power who are corrupt. Chief Nanga on whom the title of this novel is based on is among corrupt and selfish leaders. Chief Nanga does not deserve to be called a man of the People. He was deserves to be called an enemy of the people due to his behavior.
The title of this novel should be given to people like Odili and Maxwell who fight for rights of people.
  • PLOT:
The events in this story are arranged chronologically. The story starts at Anata Grammar school where Odili works as a teacher and Chief Nanga, the main character visits the school. Then Odili is taken to Bori, at Chief Nanga’s house where he stayed for several days then to Maxwell’s house where he started to involve in politics, national election and the overthrow of the government by the military and imprisonment of all members of the corrupt government overthrown.
The author also has employed flashback in some chapters for example when Odili tell us what happened before Chief Nanga was a minister and also the background of Odili’s father. Flashback gives readers important information which adds to what they know from the plot.
Foreshadowing has also been used especially when the narrator hints just at the beginning of the story that it would be impossible to make the people who were praising Chief Nanga believe that the man was ruining the nation by enriching himself as in “Tell them that this man has used his position to enrich himself and they would ask – you as my father did – if you thought that a sensible man would spit out the juicy morsel that good fortune placed in his mouth” (pg.2).Foreshadowing creates a shock and suspense as it starts showing the truth even before the truth is revealed.
  • SETTING:
The setting of the book is an African country during post-independence. The author has used imaginary towns like Bori and villages like Urua and Anata. But most readers believe that the setting of the novel is in Nigeria. He has succeeded to use his setting to make its fiction sound real and time.
  • STYLE:
The author has employed various aspects of style and artistic devices for the effective communication of his feelings and opinion. The author has narrated the story using the first person point of view that the narrator is also a main character taking part in various sections.
This book is narrated in the first person by Odili, a young teacher who is an idealistic intellectual. The story is told both in dialogue and in exposition through Odili’s eyes. By using Odili’s point of view, Achebe is able to take the reader along on Odili’s journey of learning the full extent of corruption in his country. He is also able to show Odili’s blind spots and weaknesses, such as his pride, by describing Odili’s perceptions. Like Odili, the reader is at first hopeful the country can improve with a change in leadership, but it becomes clear the will of the people is not strong enough to fight the greed of its leaders.
Chinua Achebe also has used poems in the novel, as in:
“It is the time to spread the news abroad
That we are well prepared …” (pg. 22)
The author also has used songs in page122, as in:
“Hip hip-hip-
Hurrah
HIP HIP HIP-
Hurrah…” (pg. 122)
Not only that but also there is the use of letters like in pg. 110.
Also the use of biblical language (Matthew 2:18) as in:
“A voice was heard in Ramah
Weeping and great limitation
Rachel weeping for her children…” (pg.81).
There are limitations to the first-person narration, primarily the limited amount of information given to the reader about the thoughts and feelings of other characters in the novel.
Literary techniques:
  • Language use:
  • The language used is well understood by the readers.
  • The author has also used pidgin in some incidences to make distinction to characters in the aspect of education level. Characters with lower level of education are using pidgin which is ungrammatical English as in: “…why I go kill my master? (pg. 34). Whereas standard English is used by educated people
  • On the other hand, American dialect has been used, as in: “But the same time we have gotten somewhere” (pg.44).
  • The wide range of figures of speech used arouse the feelings and senses of the readers.
  • Figures of speech:
Smile: It is the comparison between two unlike things by using connective words such as like, as, as …… as, resembles, as if. Examples:
  • You are eating hills like yam. Pg. 93
  • Cool like a well. Pg. 130
  • Two looking as fresh as a newly hatched chick. Pg. 43
  • He shouted at me like a mad dog. Pg. 103
  • Some people’s belly is like the earth. (pg.85)
  • Giving things to him was like pouring a little water into a dried up well. Pg. 27
Metaphors: It is a comparison between two unlike things without using connective words such as like, resembles, as, etc. Examples:
  • He has become an earthworm. Pg. 42
  • The coming election would be a life and death fight (Pg.85)
  • Big guns (people with political power) (Pg.)
  • Hyperbole: It is an exaggeration to express strong emotions or create a comic effect. Example:
  • The crowd raised a deafening shout of welcome (Pg. 10)
  • It is a mammoth crowd Pg.10
  • The whole town would come to admire it (pg.)
Satire: It is the way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak or bad. Examples:
  • When Chief Nanga admits that he does not know the meaning of book exhibition, as in: “Book exhibition? Asked Elsie how they de make that one again? My sister make you de ask them for me-o…” (pg. 61).
  • When Chief Nanga tells Odili that he can bring him six girls and Odili will have sex with them till he gets tired, as in: “If you like can bring you six girls this evening” (pg. 72).
  • When Odili rides a bicycle (with Edna) and fail to breathe properly so when he is told something he puffs out the question, why?
  • When Chief Nanga says Julio has composed a song instead of a book, as in: “I believe Mr. Julio himself has composed a brilliant song called…erm… what is it called again?”(pg.63).
  • When Chief Koko discovers that the coffee was not poisonous and Chief Nanga starts teasing him, as in: “But S.I you fear death…” (pg. 35).
Irony: It is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny. For example:
  • The meaning of the title is opposite that is chief Nanga is not a man of the people but an enemy.
  • When Nanga says: “teaching is a very noble profession (pg. 9). Here he meant otherwise
  • When Chief Nanga tells odili that “if someone wants to make you a minister run away” (pg.36). He meant the opposite.
  • When Chief Nanga calls Odili his friend, he meant it’s opposite.
  • “I can swear to God that I am not as happy as when I was a teacher” (pg. 9). The opposite is true.
Proverbs/Sayings: a proverb is a brief saying that gives advice about how people should live or that express a belief that is generally thought to be true. Examples:
  • A traveler to distant places should not cultivate enmity on his route (pg.1).
  • Do the right and shame the devil (pg.11).
  • It does not matter what you know but who you know (pg.17).
  • A mad man may speak a true word (pg.120).
  • The inquisitive eyes will only blind its own sight (pg.164).
N.B: proverbs help to add color to literary works and also clarify certain ideas depending on the situation.
Idioms: an idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own. Idioms add flavor for the readers to enjoy reading the book. Examples:
  • Kick the bucket (die).
  • To put a cat among pigeons (to destroy one’s success) (pg.79).
  • The treatment costs me water and fire (it costs a lot of money) (pg.92).
  • Teachers were dead from neck up (they were in very bad economic situation) (pg.7)
  • To lick big man’s boot (to respect someone in power in order to get something from him or her) (pg.17).
Symbolism: it is the use of symbols to express or represent ideas or qualities in literary works. Examples:
  • Cadillac: symbolizes wealth
  • Guns and gunpowder: symbolizes power and intimidation
  • Money: symbolizes wealth and influence
  • Azoge’s walking stick: symbolizes resources or properties of the poor people which is stolen or exploited by the rich one
  • Azoge, the blind beggar: symbolizes poor people who do not see or want to know reasons for their poverty.
  • Odili’s marriage with Edna: represents victory of good against evil
  • Maxwell’s death: represents the beginning of liberation
  • Love between Chief Nanga and Elsie: symbolizes immoral behavior
  • The refusal of the villagers to buy things in Josiah’s shop: symbolizes unity.
  • The journey to the hospital on a bicycle stands for struggle.
Imagery: the use of words to bring a picture of a certain event takes place in the novel. For example:
  • The artistic descriptions of Chief Nanga’s house with seven self-contained rooms, water closets each, private doors, the gate, double beds, beautiful furniture, gleaming bathrooms, etc. This creates an image of wealth obtained through abuse of power.
  • Description of the ministerial vehicle that is long, American car called Cadillac very comfortable inside, with ministerial flag
  • When the writer describes the Odo’s house made of a red earth and thatched roof to give an image of poverty and shows how most of Africans live poor life.
  • Also the artistic description of Josiah’s evil/action towards Azoge by an old woman when she say: “some people’s belly is like the earth” (pg.85). It is an imagery. It provides an image of egoism and shows how the business people are not satisfied with what they get hence they continue exploiting people using their business.
Characters and characterization:
Chief Nanga:
  • The corrupt politician: Chief Nanga is a corrupt politician who provides the novel its ironic title. He receives bribes from various British companies. He also bribes the journalist in order to put his article in front page. Chief Nanga tries to bribe Odili to stop him from contesting for the political position against him. He even bribes Max in efforts to slow down the new party. However, Max directs the funds to support the party’s activities and Odili’s campaigns.
  • He is a minister of culture: He became a minister after giving a cruel suggestion on how to punish the minister of finance Dr. Makinde. He is a standard six graduate. He doesn’t know the meaning of book exhibition. He doesn’t know famous local writers and confuses a novel and a poem. He is not deserves to be a minister of culture, as the writer says: “Just think of such a man going abroad and calling himself minister of culture ridiculous! This is why the outside would laugh at us…”
  • An upholder of western culture: He has strong desire after the western things and fills his house with them. He prefers to speak English and his children are also about to forget their mother tongue it. Also his children speak English language more than their mother tongue, as Mrs. Nanga says: “Don’t you see they hardly speak our language.”
  • He was once a teacher and taught Odili in standard three.
  • He is a womanizer and sexmaniac: Chief Nanga has a wife, but he still wants to sleep with every beautiful woman who comes on his sight. He makes love with Agnes and Elsie. At the same time, he has paid for Edna’s education and he wants to marry her.
  • He uses government money very roughly: He is an extravagant leader. He has built many story houses and registering some in his wife’s name. He also used government fund to buy several modern buses.
  • He is selfish: Nanga takes money meant for community development to build a commercial four-story building for his personal gain.
  • He is a betrayal: he betrayed his people and thinks on how to accumulate wealth only. He lives in luxury life while his people live in poor life.
  • He is clever and cunning: Achebe pointed out, Nanga is very important he is the only character who has the title of the book. He is very clever and cunning. He knows what he wants to do in a way. It is the tragedy of our situation. Nanga uses such devices to destroy the Society”
Odili Samalu:
  • He is the narrator of the story
  • He is a young man who decided to go and teach in the rural school Anata Grammar school) after completing his university education.
  • He is the son of Hezekiah Samalu, the former District Commission interpreter
  • He was taught by Chief Nanga in standard three.
  • His mother died during his birth
  • He finds himself in conflict with Chief Nanga when Nanga sleeps with his girlfriend, Elsie.
  • He is one among the members who formed a new political party (CPC).
  • His political awareness is stimulated by his friend Maxwell Kulamo
  • He contests against Chief Nanga during election for revenge.
  • He is totally against corruption that is rampant in his society. That’s why he rejects the money Chief Nanga wanted to give him.
  • He represents young men who need to discover that they have a duty of liberating their societies from corruption and social vices.
  • He plans to marry Edna as a reaction to Chief Nanga’s act of sleeping with Elsie. At the end he marries Edna.
Maxwell Kulamo:
  • He is a lawyer and a poet.
  • He is Odili’s friend and a classmate
  • He is the boyfriend of Eunice
  • He convinces Odili to join the liberation by forming a new political party (CPC).
  • He is a revolutionary young men who are against injustice, corruption and exploitation.
  • He represents progressive intellectuals in independent African states.
  • He was bribed by Chief Koko to surrender the constituency during the campaign, Maxwell took the money and didn’t surrender.
  • He is killed under the order of Chief Koko when he is dealing with the smuggling of voting papers done by Koko’s wife. He is declared a hero after the revolution.
Eunice:
  • She is Maxwell’s fiancée and a lawyer
  • She is one among the founders members of CPC
  • She shoots Chief Koko as a revenge following Maxwell’s murder. She represents women who are able to bring changes if they are given opportunity and when they dare.
  • After killing Chief Koko, Eunice is arrested and jailed but she is freed from jail after revolution
  • She represents serious and hard working women from whom other women can learn and emulate.
Makinde:
  • He is the ex-minister of finance who get fired in the position after suggesting on how to solve the problem of coffee price and not printing more money as the prime minister suggests. He is then called a traitor and other bad names.
  • He represents people who suffer because of standing for the truth and professionalism.
  • After his dismissal, both his house and car are destroyed
Elsie:
  • She is Ralph’s fiancée.
  • She betrays Ralph by allowing herself to be seduced by Odili and later on by Chief Nanga. So she is immoral.
  • She is a trained nurse. She worked as a nurse in Bori.
  • She causes Chief Nanga and Odili to conflict with each other
  • She represents women/girls who are no faithful in relationship.
Edna Odo:
  • She is a daughter of Odo
  • She is born in poor family. Her education is paid for by Chief Nanga on the agreement that he will marry her.
  • She represents girls who lose their freedom and surrender themselves to men because of poverty.
  • At the end she is married to Odili after realization that Chief Nanga was not her right choice.
  • She nurses Odili after being beaten by Chief Nanga’s thugs and being admitted to hospital.
Hezekiah Samalu:
  • Odili’s father, a tradition and a polygamist. He has five wives and thirty children.
  • He is superstitious. He has medical charms placed at a crucial point in his house.
  • He once was a District officer interpreter during colonial period.
  • He was a local chairman of P.O.P in Urua before being dismissed because of allowing the C.P.C political party to launch their campaign at his home grounds.
  • He represents very few African leaders who understand the meaning of democracy.
  • He is corrupt, he blames Odili for rejecting chief Nanga’s bribe.
Josiah:
  • He is a trader at Anata
  • He was considered as an exploiter and a superstitious by the villagers when he steals Azoge’s walking stick.
  • He is forced to leave the village by the angry villagers after stealing Azoge’s stick.
  • He is rejected by Odili to join C.P.C.
Chief Simon Koko:
  • He is a minister of overseas training, fat and cheerful man by appearance
  • He is one of the corrupt leader who believe in bribes as a way of getting income. He bribes Maxwell in order to surrender the constituency they were competing
  • He orders Maxwell to be killed and stops the arrest of the driver who causes the killing
  • He is shot dead by Eunice as a revenge.
Chief Nanga:
  • She is a minister of culture’s wife and a mother of three children
  • She represents the African women who were denied the right to education as she was selected to join secondary school but her parents denied and married her to Chief Nanga
  • She has no say over her husband’s behavior of being a womanizer
  • She is jealous of Edna whom her husband wants to marry



CONTENT
THEMES:
Corruption:
In the novel, the author has shown in detail on how leaders are corrupt and how they use their title to get what they want. For example chief Nanga uses his position to blind the mass so that they cannot see his evils. Nanga uses his money to sponsor Edna for the purpose of winning her. He tries to bribe Odili to withdraw competing him. He also receives bribes from British companies. He bribes James (journalist) so that he can keep on writing things which are not true or not done. He is also rewarded a bribe which he used to construct a four storey luxury flat by one of the European building firm of Antonio and sons after giving them the tender to construct an academy of arts and science. Also Chief Koko bribes Maxwell as a way of weakening the CPC power. Bonoface tells Odili that they have bribed the police officers and court clerk to cancel their case.
Ignorance:
Ignorance means lack of knowledge, understanding or education. People in Anata are ignorant as they have failed to realize how corruption affect them and the nation at large. Though they encounter problems in their daily life still they don’t take action against it. We are told that even if some people tries to educate them, they are conservatives. Hezekiah Samalu who is a local chairman of POP is not aware of what is going on in the party. Edna’s father fails to realize the trick played by Chief Nanga. Josiah as a businessmen believes in superstition as he steals Azoge’s walking stick believing that he will succeed in his business.
Poverty:
It is the state of being unable to get basic needs. In the novel, Azoge the blind beggar earns his living by begging. Edna’s family lived in a very poor life hence Edna sacrifices her body to chief Nanga so that she can get education as her parents have failed to educate her. Edna’s father wants Edna to marry Nanga so that she could get wealthy. Odili’s sister lives in two rooms with her two children, husband and sucks of maize and beans.
Moral decay:
Being a corrupt leader proves the immorality of African leaders. Elsie is also immoral as we do not expect an African lady to be like that. Chief Nanga is immoral because as a leader who is a modal in the society we do not expect to see him the way he is a womanizer. Odili’s bodyguards are immoral as they plans to burn chief Nanga’s car.
Betrayal:
In the novel, the author has shown that people are not faithful both in private and public affairs as they betray their friends, relatives and the society. Politicians like chief Nanga betrayed his people by enriching himself while his people live very poor life. Elsie betrays her boyfriend Ralph by making love with Odili. Also Elsie betrays Odili by sleeping with chief Nanga. Chief Nanga betrays his wife by sleeping with other girls/women. Jean betrays her husband (John) by having love relationship with chief Nanga. Agnes betrayed her husband (Mr. Akilo) by sleeping with chief Nanga.
Hypocrisy:
It is the behavior of some people who do things that they tell other people not to do. In the novel, most political leaders like chief Nanga pretend to be good to their people while they are not good. Chief Nanga pretends to be kind to Odili when he invites and accommodates him in Bori. Chief Nanga pretends to help Edna and her family while his intention is to make love with her.
Embezzlement of public funds:
It refers to the act or situation of a person/few people squandering public fund for their own benefit/interest. In the novel, political leaders like chief Nanga misuse public funds for their own interest. For example: Chief Nanga’s ministerial car is used by Odili to Elsie’s hospital (her working station) for self-interest. Chief Nanga uses public fund to: educate his girlfriend (Edna), give Agnes in order to make love with her, buy buses, and bribe Odili and so on. Chief Nanga also uses public money to hire thugs and buy weapons to protect him during campaigning and election.
Selfishness:
It is the act of having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs of other people. In the novel, political leaders have been portrayed as the ones who are selfish. For example: during election when Urua people declare that they will support Odili, Chief Nanga take away the water pipes. The pipes are only brought back when Urua people declare that they will not support Odili in the election. Also chief Nanga repairs the roads in the village after buying his own buses which will be operating in those areas.
Position and role of women:
Achebe has portrayed women in different perceptions as follows:
  • Woman as a weak, humiliated and oppressed person.
Example: Mrs. Nanga was easily forced to end education and marry chief Nanga. She is also humiliated and oppressed by her husband, chief Nanga. She has no say over her husband’s behavior of being a womanizer. Elsie, Jean and Agnes are easily convinced to make love with chief Nanga.
  • Woman as a prostitute.
In this novel, women have been portrayed as prostitutes especially through Elsie, Jean and Agnes. For example: in spite of the fact that Elsie has a fiancée, Ralph, she makes love with other men like Chief Nanga and Odili.
  • Woman as an upholder of traditional values and customs.
Mrs. Nanga takes her children to their home land, Anata, at least once a year, so that they could not forget their traditional values, as she says: “They would become English people. Don’t you see they hardly speak our language? Ask them something in it and they reply in English” (pg. 38).
  • Woman as an intelligent and educated person.
For example: Elsie is a trained nurse, Eunice is a lawyer and a member of CPC, and Agnes is also an educated and a lawyer.
  • Woman as an unfaithful person.
Example: Agnes is unfaithful to her husband, Akilo. Elsie is unfaithful to her fiancée, Ralph. Jean is also unfaithful to her husband, John.
  • Woman as a generous person.
Edna is very kind to Odili as when Odili is beaten up by Chief Nanga’s thugs and admitted to the hospital, she shows sympathy and nurses him.
  • Woman as a person with good advice.
Example: When Odili has a quarrel against his father when his plans to marry the fifth wife, Mama, the first wife of Hezekiah, advised Odili to ask forgiveness from his father.  As Odili says: “Mama persuaded me to sue for peace by going down on my knees to ask forgiveness and making a peace offering of a bottle of schnapps, two bottles of White Horse and a bottle of Martell” (pg. 31)
  • Woman as a courageous person who can take part in a struggle against evils.
For example: Eunice kills Chief Koko as a revenge to her husbands, Maxwell’s assassination.
Other themes include: nepotism, conflicts, irresponsibility, patriotism, protest, disillusionment, sacrifice, cultural imperialism, etc.





3 Comments

  1. thank you so much for giving us more about this novel.

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  2. thank you so much for giving us more about this novel.

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